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BURKE, John and BAKER, William (1843 – 1900).
| Bio Notes

In 1861 retired sergeant William Baker of the 87th regiment became one of the first commercial photographers in Peshawar and in the North- West frontier, the area between British India and what was at the time Afghanistan (modern day Pakistan). He had arrived in India in 1850 but opted out of military service to pursue a career as a ‘photographist’. William Baker partnered with John Burke, a young assistant apothecary from the Royal Artillery, whose units provided firepower to British infantry and cavalry regiments throughout the world. Although they worked together and
were known as Baker and Burke, the latter’s career as a photographer was significantly longer and was the more important of the two. Baker retired from commercial photography by 1873 with Burke setting up his own studio as the ‘Late Baker and Burke’. He worked for a further forty years of varied output in the most turbulent sector of the British Raj. He was also hired to take the photographs
which appear in H. H. Cole’s Illustrations of ancient buildings in Kashmir (London, 1869). Between 1871 and 1879 as official photographer to the army he made an important record of the Second Afghan War. In 1885 he opened a studio in Lahore, which continued trading until 1903. His son William, born in 1861 was employed in his father’s firm and later opened his own studios in Madras and Ootacamund.